Rock music isn’t anything special anymore. It’s a genre now associated with unmemorable songs and shallow lyrics meant for parties and those shady looking tattoo parlors. But there was a time when rock music wasn’t associated with poor quality entertainment. No,there was a time when it was associated with an awaking of poetry,rebellion,and a new era of musicians that is still effecting the way we do music to this day. Some of the greatest musicians and songs came out of this time. Which is why Good _____ is reviewing an album almost fifty years old. Goodness isn’t limited to a timeline.
Nothing assured in this era of goodness quite like Bob Dylan’s masterpiece “Highway 61 Revisited”. A man already being barraged by critics who were angry for his recent switch from a folk protest singer to an electric poet answered them with this album. From the first snare shot that rings like cannon fire in,”Like a Rolling Stone” to the final strum and harmonica bend on,”Desolation Row” this album is what Good _____ is made of. The poetical songwriting of Dylan that made him famous is at its prime on the album. Examples of this are such songs as the quirky blues song titled “Tombstone Blues” weaving lyrical symbolism of politics and the events of the early 60’s. Other such examples are,”Just like Tom Thumb Blues”,a piano ballad of sorts,and the very popular “Like a Rolling Stone”.
But the real gems on this album to me is the titled track,”Ballad of a Thin Man” and “Desolation Row”. The title track tears into you with a police siren and a electric slide while Dylan’s nasal voice weaves his version of a bible story “God said to Abraham kill me a son. Abe said ,man, You must be puttin’ me on. God said no. Abe said what? God said you can do what you want Abe but the next time you see me you better run….”. But few songs on this album can hold a match to the haunting”Ballad of a Thin Man”. Dylan’s song to a man referred to only as “Mr.Jones”. Most believe is was towards the critics who scorned him for switching to electric. The arrangement of the piano,guitar,and organ is chilling and breath taking. The last track is surprisingly acoustic but that fact doesn’t make the song seem out of place. In fact,the song almost outshines the electric company it keeps. Even though the song is almost ten minutes it isn’t a burden to sit thru especially when Bob is weaving such words as”Now the moon is almost hidden. The stars are beginning to hide. The fortunetelling lady has even taken all her things inside. All except for Cain and Abel and the hunchback of Notre Dame. Everybody is making love or else expecting rain and the Good Samaritan, he’s dressing he’s getting ready for the show. He’s going to the carnival tonight on desolation row”. A perfecting ending to a perfect record.
Next time when you want to purchase a rock album that is a little more memorable than the “I wanna be a rock star” hum drum keep Dylan’s “Highway 61 Revisited” in mind. You might walk away with something more than a “rocking” chorus.